Principle 3: And its Good Business, Too

This month I explore the third principle from my book, Leading Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: A Guide for Systemic Change in Multinational Organizations, And it's Good Business, Too.

Any successful and sustainable transformation effort requires a rationale for change. Without a compelling change narrative, it is unlikely that DEI efforts will be sustained. A holistic and persuasive DEI storyline considers the mission and business of the organization, along with regional sociopolitical, legal, and cultural nuances.

To be transformational and generate competitive advantage a change narrative should draw on not only a financial business case but also a legal case based on the prevailing laws as well as a fundamental fairness & equality case. When the rationale for change is aligned with the regional trends and the organization’s business and mission it creates momentum for DEI. An example from Barilla, the Italian pasta company, demonstrates how they created a change narrative for addressing people with disabilities (PWD).

In 2017, Barilla partnered with Hackability, a nonprofit social and technology research laboratory, to create Hackability@Barilla. Together, they developed an initiative with interdisciplinary teams in which people with disabilities joined forces with Barilla research designers. The team created cooking tools and new packaging to match the requirements of PWD.

The drive for PWD inclusion at Barilla hinged on both the aging population trends in Italy as well as a regional employment quota system for PWD. Integrating these realities with their Good for You, Good for the Planet mission spurred innovative solutions to customer challenges. This had a positive impact on their revenue and resulted in a competitive advantage for the business, all while also improving the quality of life for employees and consumers with disabilities.

In my upcoming book, I draw on examples from several global organizations in order to illustrate the varied ways of building change narratives in different geographies.

Important questions to ask yourself in order to build a compelling case for change include:

  • Are you aligning DEI with the fundamentals of the organization?

  • Have you established how DEI can enhance business outcomes and advance the organization’s mission?

Tune into Learn from Leaders on Wednesday 29th September. I will have a conversation with Kristen Anderson, former Chief Diversity Officer, Barilla as she discusses how Barilla developed a rationale for addressing DEI while addressing social justice and having a positive impact on the business.

Next month I will discuss the fourth principle from my book - Go Deep, Wide and Inside Out. In the meantime, my book is now available to pre-order.

More than just a book...

To celebrate the launch of my book, I have created a series of resources that I hope you find useful.

Learn from Leaders

September 29th | Kristen Anderson, Former Chief Diversity Officer at Barilla

I am excited that this month I will be joined by Kristen Anderson, former Chief Diversity Officer at Barilla. Our conversation will focus on the 3rd principle of my upcoming book, And its Good Business, Too. This principle demonstrates how convincing cases for social justice can be constructed so that they resonate in different parts of the world while also benefitting the business.

​In our conversation, Kristen will share how Barilla embedded DEI in their business model to be both purpose driven and to advance business outcomes. She will detail how inclusion of people with disabilities (PWD) in Europe was driven by both the aging population as well as a regional employment quota system for PWD. Integrating these realities with their Good for You, Good for the Planet mission spurred innovative solutions to customer challenges and resulted in a positive impact for the business. Watch the interview on September 29th when it goes live on my website. In the meantime, why not watch the previous interviews with:

  • Rishi Gour, CEO, Theobroma

  • Alain Morize, Senior Vice President, Energy and Resources, Sodexo US

  • Mark McLane, Head Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing, M&G

Learn from the DEI Community

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